By Danika Brockman and the Adjust Monetary Values Team
Introducing the Adjust Monetary Values feature
The team at IPUMS is excited to introduce a brand-new extract feature, Adjust Monetary Values, which gives you the option to adjust monetary variables to constant units in the IPUMS data extract system. We know firsthand how tedious it can be to compare things like income and rent over time when you have to manually adjust for inflation. This feature allows you to request pre-adjusted monetary variables (e.g., INCWAGE) as part of your extract request! The feature is first being released on IPUMS USA, where you will be able to adjust monetary variables to 2010 dollars.
What does the Adjust Monetary Values feature do?
This feature gives you the option to adjust the monetary variables you have added to your data cart into constant dollars, so that all samples in your data cart are comparable across time for your selected monetary variables. IPUMS USA variables are adjusted to 2010 dollars using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). For more information about why the CPI-U was chosen as the pricing index for this feature, see the Monetary Adjustment Feature page.
When you add an inflation-adjusted version of a variable to your data cart, the IPUMS data extract system applies the appropriate CPI-U adjustment factor for each sample year to the variable(s) you’ve selected. Your extract will include both the original monetary variable and the inflation-adjusted monetary variable. Special codes (e.g., NIU, missing) will not be affected by the inflation adjustment. Inflation-adjusted versions of variables will assign all specialty (i.e., non-monetary) codes to a code comprised exclusively of “9’s” with a width two digits greater than the largest value in the original variable (e.g., a variable where the maximum monetary value is “8500,” would assign all specialty codes to “999999” and apply a label of “Non-monetary.”) For details on the original specialty codes and their labels, consult the documentation for the original variable on the IPUMS USA website or cross-tab the adjusted and original variables in your statistical program (note that you may want to include a qualifying if statement so you see only the non-monetary codes).